Can I wear my contact lenses during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?
Yes, you can still wear your lenses but there are some important steps you should take.
Despite some mythical reports and misinformation you may have read in recent weeks, the use of contact lenses is not clinically proven to have an effect of contracting the virus.
It is extremely important to maintain and/or increase your efforts when it comes to hygiene. You should ensure you continue to follow all the insertion/removal advice given to you by your Optometrist/Contact Lens Optician when you was fitted with contact lenses. If you have forgotten the advice or would like a recap you should contact your lens provider, who should be happy to run through this with you again.
In addition to your daily contact lens regime, here are 6 great tips to remember when wearing contact lenses during the Coronavirus pandemic:
1. Always washing your hands thoroughly, using soap and warm water. You should ensure you are using enough soap to form a foam and scrub them for at least 20 seconds paying attention to under the nails and a between your fingers. Always ensure you hands are completely dry using clean, unused paper towels before handling your lenses at any time. For NHS guidance on washing hands follow this link https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/
2. Clean your lenses well. Daily wear lenses are generally more hygienic on a day to day basis because if their disposable nature, however you do not need to change to daily lenses if you are already wearing monthly lenses. It is important to ensure you are cleaning your lenses effectively by rubbing and rinsing the lenses with your contact lens solution. Ensure you thoroughly clean your contact lens case daily by removing the old solution, using fresh solution to clean your case and allow to air dry on a clean, dry paper towel. You should continue to replace the case every month.
3. Avoid touching your face. Many of us can touch our faces frequently throughout the day and this is not different for contact lens wearers. It’s a good idea to try and be more aware of touching your face particularly the eyes, nose and mouth at this time.
4. Don’t wear your lenses if you feel unwell. Whist there are no studies to suggest wearing lenses is dangerous at this time we do suggest that should you stop wearing your lenses if you feel unwell. As with our standard advice, if you shown signs of cold/flu and any other illness stop wearing your lenses until the symptoms clear. The same will apply I f you show signs of COVID-19.
5. Discontinue wear if your lenses don’t feel right. If you experience your eye feeling uncomfortable with or without lenses in, we suggest discontinuing contact lens wear until you can speak to an eyecare practitioner for further advice. If you have a sudden onset of pain, red eye or blurred vision, you should remove your lenses, discontinue wear and call your eyecare practitioner immediately.
6. You could wear your lenses less. Many of us are finding ourselves at home more and should consider reducing the wear time of our lenses if this is possible. There may be some instances where this is not possible and you should talk to your eyecare practitioner to discuss this.